Thursday, January 12, 2017

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Alex Hemingway highlights the similarities between Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump in pushing infrastructure plans designed primarily to turn the promise of public services into long-term corporate profit centres:
But as I described recently in the Canadian context, these “partnerships” have proven enormously costly:
“P3s are simply less efficient – on average costing dramatically more than the public sector alternative. And it’s not hard to understand why…
Traditional publicly-funded and operated projects… don’t require paying out profits to private investors and, importantly, have lower financing costs, since government can secure much better interest rates than a private corporation.
This has all been well understood since the 1990s and documented over the years in a whole range of research on P3s.”
In fact, the Ontario Auditor General recently reported that the province had lost a jaw-dropping $8 billion over a decade by building projects as P3s rather than as traditional public infrastructure projects.

To top it off, privatization tends to increase inequality by driving down wages and ramping up user fees, while eroding the capacity of our public sector. That’s why many cities across Canada and around the world have begun bringing services back in-house after failed experiments with P3s.

Now, ignoring this body of evidence, our own federal government is working from the same playbook as Donald Trump, planning a major privatization of Canadian infrastructure.
This should all be deeply worrying to Canadians. The push for privatization illustrates how neoliberalism is alive and well – in Trump’s America and Trudeau’s Canada. Yet the evidence is clear: selling out our public infrastructure is both unnecessary and incredibly costly. And it’s taking us in precisely the wrong direction at a time when we need a renewed public sphere to meet huge collective challenges.
- Meanwhile, David Rider and Betsy Powell report on the fight against the privatization of Toronto's garbage collection. And D.C. Fraser reports that the Saskatchewan Party's first major move following from Brad Wall's attack on wages has been to threaten the jobs of over 250 custodial workers.

- While I'm still skeptical about what we can expect from Karina Gould as the minister of democratic institutions, PressProgress tracks down some past statements which would suggest she recognizes the need for a proportional electoral system.

- Finally, Andrew Potter discusses the de-institutionalism of media organizations as a means of ensuring reporting standards - while hinting that it may be possible to develop alternate ways to avoid being swamped by fake news.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:03 p.m.

    Good column. Agree 100%. The public buys the original infrastructure, and the government sells it off for pennies on the dollar to friends, when it's not theirs to just merely sell when they feel like it. They're custodians, not the hawkers of public wealth for private gain.

    The local elite here in Nova Scotia are aghast with our Liberal provincial government. Past P3 schools leases are coming due and the government is going to buy them per the original negotiation details.

    The whining and howling that the government is 'wasting" public money buying the schools back cheap when they're still in great shape, can be heard echoing off boardroom walls. Nooooooooo, god, noooooo.

    Rents were supposed to last forever as the rich sucked the hind t*t of the public purse.

    Too bad, eh?